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Basics of Mixing/Editing Music
General principles we should know before diving into software & plugins?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (17 votes) 
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ELCBK
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Up until now, I've been very leary about just jumping into mixing/editing software, allowing it and plugins do most of the work without me understanding why & what for. 

Jim's Bach Bouree Project Blog

Jim's blog raised many questions for me, so decided it was time to start learning some basics.

Everyone wants to remove some nasty noises a violin can make and they always appear at the worse moment. (lol) 

...I'm starting from 'scratch' here.

So, I explored several videos on removing squeaks from acoustic guitar music - finding several ways to deal with them.  Forgive my lack of proper terminology, but found the best method of removing the worst obnoxious noises, while leaving the most natural sound - seems to be if you can spot them in a good spectral analysis and lessen (or erase) them, individually. 

Noticed that different software and plugins can have very different graphs & spectrogram displays - which may be important when choosing one to find trouble spots.

I've seen some examples (YouTube) where the areas of unwanted noises are just compressed, but seems that can deaden too much without really removing the problem - on the other hand, I don't think getting rid of these noises needs to be micro-surgery, either.  

Isn't messing with equalization too general when you only have a few trouble spots? 

With so much digital music synthesis these days, my concerns lie with preserving the nature of violin sound.

Also got to thinking, isn't the violin supposed to mimic human singing, and if so, shouldn't we keep that in mind when mixing/editing? 

 

I've run across some good videos about Fixing Squeaks in Guitar tracks, Sound Location, What Compression is, What EQ is, Voice Layering and using Spectral Analysis, etc... and will post a few. 

I really like the videos Michael Wynne of "In The Mix" has.

Rick Beato has great videos - but most are geared toward professionals, a little too much info for me right now, (lol) 

I did find a good video that I think is important (and easy to understand) by Lonely Rocker - "Spectrum Analyzer - Audio Mixing Tips - How to SEE Your Problems". 

 

 

 

LOVE to hear everyone's tips - just try to keep them simple/retainable for us beginners! - Emily

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Jim Dunleavy
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Great thread idea!

I've used spectral analysers, but often you can't really see where the problem is as there's so much going on at once.

I got a tip from a youtube guy that suggested using an EQ plug in and actually raising a band of frequencies then sweeping through the frequency range until the unwanted sound gets worse - strangely it's much easier to hear than if you reduce the range of frequencies. I'll see if I can find his video later on today.

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Jim Dunleavy
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This is the one I was talking about:

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ELCBK
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@Jim Dunleavy -

Thanx!  Checking it out, now.   

 

This video using Reaper (from Brothers in Metal), shows spectral editing without any plugins.  This display is fabulous, how to identify & fix the areas of squeaks - starts at 1:00 minute in. 

 

 

I probably shouldn't be looking at anything that says "Pro", but can't resist the "Hacks" part. (lol) 

This video uses "Spectralayers One" (Cubase 11 Pro) - VERY COOL, starts at 11:06 minutes in.  Like just taking a pencil eraser and removing a trouble spot like a squeak, a little bit, or a lot.

Chris Selim (at Mixdown Online), says it's exclusive to Cubase 11 Pro, but then adds this note in the video description - so I need to find out more about the eraser tool, which may be included in a newer/cheaper version.

* In this video, the version of Spectralayers that I'm using id the PRO version, sorry about that, my bad, I thought I was using the version included in Cubase Pro11... With the Free version, you can use the Selection tool and select the squeaky part and click on delete to remove it. Not as smooth as the eraser tool but still might help.

 

 

Has anyone seen a similar spectral display in their software?

 

I haven't really searched for anything violin-specific.  Is there mixing editing info specific to violin available?

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ELCBK
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@Jim Dunleavy -

Thank you for the Creative Sauce EQ Tutorial, showing "the boost & sweep method"! 

I noticed this method at the beginning of this Michael Wynne video (at In The Mix), but he shows the issues with the "boost & sweep method" and shows why he uses a "subtractive sweep" - and it makes more sense to me.  

Like how he also shows how to listen - without using the spectral analysis!

"How To Hear EQ" - Mixing Tutorial 

 

 

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ELCBK
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March 10, 2022 - 6:45 am
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Wow, something I had NO idea I needed to learn about, but finding it's pretty darn important to understand, if I plan on using more than 1 mic!  

"Polarity vs. Phase - Why do I Need to Know This?" (Marco Primeau) - I watched several videos on this subject - this one's very basic.

 

 

 

...pretty cool that moving mics different distances (adjusting out of phase) can actually be used like an equalizer, cancelling out some unwanted frequencies!  Or, by changing the polarity of one track can fix simply fix some problems.

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ABitRusty
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exciting seeing the interest @elcbk!!  The best way to learn is to jump in and give it a go and just trying.  Try making something and see where it leads.

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty -

Okay, here ya go! 

 

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Jim Dunleavy
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I haven't watched all the videos yet, but they all have interesting points in them. I love that Cubase feature, but unfortunately it's specific to that one DAW and I haven't got it (Cubase pro is pretty expensive as well).

I think the video criticising the boost and sweep method is a bit extreme - nobody would apply cut over so many different frequency bands like he is suggesting; as long as you are sensible about it, that method is fine imo.

This a great thread!

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ELCBK
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@Jim Dunleavy -

I think the video criticising the boost and sweep method is a bit extreme - nobody would apply cut over so many different frequency bands like he is suggesting; as long as you are sensible about it, that method is fine imo. 

That's interesting, I thought he only ended up actually cutting a little bit in the low frequencies with 'subtractive sweep', instead of a bunch of spots with 'boost & sweep'. 

...I'll have to look again. 

Thank you.

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ELCBK said
Up until now, I've been very leary about just jumping into mixing/editing software, allowing it and plugins do most of the work without me understanding why & whatfor. 

Jim's Bach Bouree Project Blog

Jim's blog raised many questions for me, so decided it was time to start learning some basics.

Everyone wants to remove some nasty noises a violin can make andthey always appear at the worse moment. (lol) 

...I'm starting from 'scratch' here.

So, I explored several videos on removing squeaks from acoustic guitar music - finding several ways to deal with them.  Forgive my lack of proper terminology, but found the best method of removing the worst obnoxious noises, while leaving the most natural sound - seems to be if you can spot them in a good spectral analysis and lessen (or erase) them, individually. 

Noticed that different software and plugins can have very different graphs & spectrogram displays - which may be important when choosing one to find trouble spots.

I've seen some examples (YouTube) where the areas of unwanted noises are just compressed, but seems that can deaden too much without really removing the problem - on the other hand, I don't think getting rid of these noises needs to be micro-surgery, either.  

Isn't messing with equalization too general when you only have a few trouble spots? 

With so much digital music synthesis these days, my concerns lie with preserving the nature of violin sound.

Also got to thinking, isn't the violin supposed to mimic human singing, and if so, shouldn't we keep that in mind when mixing/editing? 

 

I've run across some good videos about Fixing Squeaks in Guitar tracks, Sound Location, What Compression is, What EQ is, Voice Layering and using Spectral Analysis, etc... and will post a few. 

I really like the videos Michael Wynne of "In The Mix" has.

Rick Beato has great videos - but most are geared toward professionals, a little too much info for me right now, (lol) 

I did find a good video that I think is important (and easy to understand) by Lonely Rocker - "Spectrum Analyzer - Audio Mixing Tips - How to SEE Your Problems". 

 

 

 

LOVE to hear everyone's tips - just try to keep them simple/retainable for us beginners! - Emily

biggest tip...load the software you already have and jump into the pool.   the videos are useless for now.  all thats stuff later.  your overcomplicating everything.

also youre not gonna have much luck removing youre squeeks on guitar with eq..better to record again..assuming you are playing guitar.  ...if not youll have to get whoever played it for you to record the track again.   same goes witb violin squeaks...youre not gonna fix that with eq without messing up the rest of the track.  unless youre cutting and pasting the whole thing.  I just try again until i get a track IM happy with.

.  you MAY be somewhat successful with bow noise but its simpler to just record the part again because youll probably take the air or top end out too much.   alot will depend on the room used..mics used and distance to them and what the other instruments are.  sm57 adds alot to top end so i just dont use it instead of trying to eq it out.  like ive said in all the other mixing threads recently. USE A RECORDING from your phone and forget about mics and all the other stuff.   YOU CAN START TODAY with all you have ALREADY.

most importantly on this subject is that if you dont try it the videos are useless.  they just complicate matters.  youll have your hands full just getting the software up and going and recording the first track.  BUT TRY IT. its not like trying to play violin.   when you get stuck find a solution and problems fixed... not something that takes years.   NOW.. getting your violin to sound like a human voice will be years maybe.  but thats external to mixing

 

i know thats 'scratch' the surface stuff but maybe  something to try.  

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@ABitRusty -

Boy, you aren't even gonna let me get a video in here on Compression! 

...you know I'm stalling - just started to get a thang going with Edgar. (lol)

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ELCBK said
 

Boy, you aren't even gonna let me get a video in here on Compression! 

...you know I'm stalling - just started to get a thang going with Edgar. (lol)

  

LOL.. its your topic!  It just seems like too much analysis since you said you already have the spark and presonus..and a killer laptop...I think you said the other daw too.  drawing a blank.  hmm..

volume levels..panning.. mic placement seem biggest hitters.  outside of the actual playing of instrument.  in a very short time experimenting youll figure out a bunch.  wont take long.  like in a day or 2 youll be making tracks..if not an hour or 2.   especially if you just use phone and copy the audio over and import to a track.

nothing against anyone else on youtube.  so much good info.  but once you load stuff up and start.. go back to joe gilder or grahm cochrane for tutorials on the basics.  My favorite has been Joe Gilder. 

later edit....

Thinking about it even more.. you dont even need to record.  you may not feel like it..BUT. .. you can use one of the old videos youve posted and bring that in.   I think the free version would work.  worth a try.  thats a good way to start.  

Of course all the prodding to get you rolling is ONLY if youre really interested which it seems you are.  Im just trying to think of ways to make it as easy to get going with it as possible for you.  In fact Any audio track of a fiddle or violin would work.  Im guessing you have some tracks that will fit that.

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@ABitRusty -

Thank you! 

Hopefully it won't be too long before I end up playing well enough to get a little better recording to work with, think that's a great idea. 

Jim's blog, your threads, a few Fiddle Hell workshops and these videos have ALL helped me grasp the bigger picture of home studio recording and editing. 

 

Coming off the fence about my priorities. 

It's not feasible for me to use my shark amp right now and I've started rethinking what kind of videos I want to make - that would benefit my Grandkids the most. 

...if one of them ever does pick up the fiddle, I'd like for them to use my videos to see/hear how & what I played & try to learn from them. 

Working toward playing a little better and being mindful - want to insure the Kids don't get frustrated by unrealistic expectations watching/listening to artificially enhanced videos. 

...but also, don't want them to cover their ears & run!

- Emily

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty - 

OMG! 

Laughing So Hard SmileyWere you thinking I posted these videos because I wanted to add, mix/edit guitar tracks? 

 

Whoops - sorry.  🥴 

🤔... I was so focused on learning how to remove unwanted noises (like squeaks) from violin tracks, without loosing the general integrity of it's natural sound - wasn't even thinking of adding other instrumental tracks, yet. 

I just couldn't find a video that addressed this issue recording violin - so I substituted a guitar video!  

 

Hey, maybe I should switch polarity... see if that gets us back in phase. 🤣 

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careful...they may like opossum tunes.  everybody is different. 🤣

if its an attempt to record..."this is what a violin should sound like.." videos without artificial outside things influencing the sound.. Im not sure how to do that and capture all the possiblities.  If you take a player and violin and record in a closet, bedroom, kitchen, theater, concert hall, outside, church... whats the violin sound? obviously the player is the biggest factor there but there are just as many real world things that influence the sound like where youre playing. which causes us to associate that sound with what a violin should be.

Im being a little devil-violin there 🙂  and i get the jest of what youre saying.   the best thing i think if recording for future generations would be not only a recording but an explanation of what tune youre about to play, why you like it, who you heard play it that drew you to it, and just play and record on a camera or phone.   nothing to do with daw or mic... more in the moment kinda thing.   like a snapshot from a polaroid camera versus a family photo from photographer.   

Also.. Playing with A commercial recording of an artist or a fiddle hell workshop video of same artists... id choose the workshop video to play with most times.   the commercial recordings draw you to the tune or artists..but a raw recording to play with maybe easier.

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ELCBK
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@ABitRusty - 

Thank You - great tips! 

Really like your idea of adding a spoken description. 

I've also been considering adding a very slow run-through of what I play, afterwards - mini tutorial.

If I make a recording of what I think a violin should sound like, it won't sound anything like me, but we all do some recordings that don't sound like 'the best we've ever played', don't we?  Editing is very helpful - just learning about how I want to use it.

So, without expecting too much, I'd like to be able to play as well as I'd like to hear myself on a recording.  Of course, it all boils down to what I perceive my sound is live vs. recorded. 

Feel I'm getting closer for a transition from, 'recording to show me what I need to work on' to, 'recording for my Grandkids to learn what I like'.

I still want to play around with electric violin, special fx and multi-track recording.  If I can get a little better at playing, first (so I don't have to focus so much on that), I'll have more fun and less frustration.  

My physical limitations don't help - psyching myself up for more physical therapy torture, right now. (lol) 

 

🤣  I think if I want the Grandkids to get interested right now, I have to find a Hamster tune... oh, no! 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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https://www.rmusentrymedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/alternative-halloween-music.jpg

If there is anyone complete new to digital recording, who would like to start with some basic terminology & principles - I found a great source!

CONCISE ARTICLES ON RECORDING TERMS! 

 

"Audio File Formats: The Ultimate Guide", "The Different Types of Microphones and How to Pick One", "What is Gain and How it Differs From Volume", Clipping, Distortion, Compression, Phase, Echo vs Delay vs Reverb, LUFs vs dB vs RMS, and Normalizing. 

PLUS, BASICS OF MUSIC THEORY & COMPOSITION!

emastered blog - Theory Category

 

Boy, sometimes I'm a little late to the game when it comes to figuring out what I NEED. 🥴  But, I do have a few moments of clarity.

Knowing my nature when I started this thread, I should NOT have been asking "How do I record my violin/viola playing?", because I haven't really needed to learn anything for that - just push the button to record on my phone so I can see my mistakes!

I should have asked is - "What are the basic principles, terms, tools, and equipment I need to understand about digital music recording?" TOGETHER WITH, "What should I understand about music theory and music structure, beyond what is necessary to play a simple melody, so I can be creative and freely express myself through music & recording?"

I've been slowly piecing together answers to both my questions this past year and a half.  Threads myself and others have started here on the forum have helped me discover how I want everything to work together. 

Looking forward to getting my feet wet, after the Holidays!  

https://cdn4.iconfinder.com/data/icons/halloween-pumpkin-emojis/256/Halloween-Pumpkin-Whistle-Tune-Music-512.png

- Emily

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ELCBK
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So, like usual, I'm back dipping my toe in the waters of a topic - and I found some videos I wish I'd found earlier, when I started all this (also typical). 🙄  Btw, @ABitRusty , glad I went back over this thread (you helped me a lot) - appreciate you 'grounded' me with how to get started!  

There are different styles of music, but I never thought there might be different 'STYLES of MIXING'!  ...duh. 

 

Guess I'm stopping here! (lol) 

I'm not concerned with 'removing' sounds anymore, since I'm now familiar with what can be adjusted on amps & pedals, before and during recording EV. 

I'm still only using my smartphone for recording.  I have more options to explore with that (another plan on my list 😁).  External mic use is a ways down the road.  

Actually, I just have a couple of last things I want to understand before I start using PreSonus.
  • I want to look at differences when adding Live acoustic tracks with Virtual instrument tracks - to mixing tracks that have been recorded differently, or when adding 'pre-processed' tracks (like EV).
  • Could some individual track 'pre-editing' be beneficial before adding raw acoustic cellphone audio tracks together (where no external mic used)?  Or, better to just mix ALL together at once? 
  • In the case of Group Projects (where some people use a cellphone & others use an external mic), unlike a studio session, all the acoustics are different - how is this dealt with? 

@ABitRusty - 

Any concerns when adding raw audio tracks from cellphone with external mic'd recordings?  Or, do you only use your external mic'd tracks together with software plugins/virtual instruments, then mix? 

@SharonC - 

You've mixed mic'd tracks of yourself playing different instruments AND mixed Group Projects that included tracks from people (like me) that used a cell phone. 

Your thoughts about the difference(s)?  

@Fiddlerman , @Jim Dunleavy , @AndrewH -

Your thoughts?

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ABitRusty
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Any concerns when adding raw audio tracks from cellphone with external mic'd recordings?  Or, do you only use your external mic'd tracks together with software plugins/virtual instruments, then mix? 

i use them all.

just experiment..youll never get anywhere youtubing.  Gotta get your hands dirty.  your cell mic probably going to sound way better than ANY pickup.

I want to look at differences when adding Live acoustic tracks with Virtual instrument tracks - to mixing tracks that have been recorded differently, or when adding 'pre-processed' tracks (like EV)

same..experiment.  Its hard to match the acoustics of say...air studios and the quality of muscians that played the samples.   but messing with a room reverb to come as close as you can helps.  or using a dry type vst sample..  meaning its a recording without much room acoustics.  but in the end my playing is gonna mean more to the quality than the mic i choose or that vs a pickup.. or how i eq..or how much or type of reverb...or what vst instruments i add.  

if you pre process to get your violin to a sound you like...then you MAY only need to worry about a eq downstream of all the tracks on the final output.  sometimes youll need something there.  but really the bivgest thing will be setting the levels so one track doeant over power the rest.  

One thing to keep in mind...if you preprocess and record you cant take it out of the recording.   Thats why i only add effects later.  It doesnt matter when recording.  Youd want flexabilty with the recorded audio.

  It WOULD matter if you were playing in a live setting and the oitput of pedals were going to an amp or pa.  Thats where a pickup MAY be better.   plus it addresses feedback that you could get with a mic picking up what the amp speaker is putting out into the venue.  the venue or room acoustics and how loud you have to be would rule over that.

its just a hobby.. not trying to cut a commercial recording ( at least here..maybe thats where youre going?) .so jump in and try it. 😉🙂  OR.. just dont worry about it all.. I only suggest trying because you seem to be interested and watch the videos on it.

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